Seasons

img_3654

Friends, I know this space has been deafeningly quiet of late, and I feel I am finally able to share the reason behind this silence.  For some time now, I had been experiencing a weightless free fall from which I was unable to land.  I have battled within the grips of anxiety for many years, but my mom’s sudden death opened up a hole in my life that has been a bottomless abyss through which I have been falling for some time. A few months ago I finally reached the bottom, and like a perennial plant, I remained dormant there for a season.

After this latency, I worked to push my roots through the hard clay soil, attempting to anchor myself.  Since then, I have been clawing my way out of this pit and I can now say,  I have returned to level ground and can feel the soft rays of sunshine upon my skin.

I am now prepared to begin the real journey, where I will work hard to spread my branches and stand tall, so I can then feel the full radiance of the sun upon my face.  Won’t you please join hands with me and come along into this season of new birth?

A Subtle Shift

It seems that at each turn of the season I feel the need to start anew.  I think this has become even more of a necessity now that I stay home and homeschool my girls.  Because our home is where we work, play and educate, there is a more constant need to refresh, even if it is just a subtle shift.

img_3200 img_3198 img_3138

As a means of bridging our transition between summer and fall, the girls and I have been trying to bring in fresh flowers each day from our garden.  It is a true blessing to have this beautiful, natural color in our sights as the mercury begins to dip.

img_2253

A quick family room face lift has also helped usher in this new season.  It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to change the entire mood of a room.

img_3188 img_3141

img_3187

As I mentioned a few weeks back, we have an abundance of home-grown pumpkins, so those gorgeous orbs are finding their way into many indoor and outdoor arrangements, as well as into many new recipes.

img_3667

Our reading material has also been refreshed.  With a little help from Ms. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has whisked our whole family away to a magical land each evening.

And after the girls are asleep, Glennon Doyle Melton’s Love Warrior fills my heart in a way no other book has.  As I wrote about here, when my mom was ill, her book Carry On, Warrior shone a light on my experience that helped me through those most difficult, excruciating months of my life.  But I believe her new novel, although raw and often emotionally difficult to get through, is giving me the tools I need to make it through the next fifty years of my life by imparting me with a whole new outlook on life, love, truth-telling and grace.

I hope each of you feels refreshed as you enter this new season, ready to embark upon many new fall adventures.

 

 

Joy in the Present

IMG_3248

Each of us has a handful of life experiences that truly changes us.  Those experiences that get deep into our veins and alter the core of our inner self and the lens through which we view the world.  I can confidently say my family and I just experienced such an event.

Over the course of the last eight days our family ventured East.  We made many, many stops and saw numerous amazing sights, but the reason for our trip was to participate in a family stay at the Knapp family’s local living school, Koviashuvik.  While on this absolutely gorgeous homestead we learned, laughed, created, and soaked up all we could from this astounding family of four who live in harmony with the earth in a way I have never before witnessed.

As I sit before this screen, I realize there is no way I can adequately express, in words, our time spent with the Knapps.  Instead, I have decided to let the photographs tell our story.  The word Koviashuvik means, “a time and place of joy in the present moment” and I invite you come along with us on our adventure to a time and place where I can say I was fully present and filled with the most wonderful sense of peace and joy.

IMG_2908 IMG_2909 IMG_2910 IMG_2926 IMG_2933 IMG_2969 IMG_2981 IMG_2998

IMG_3014

IMG_2896 IMG_2899 IMG_2900Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040284Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040289Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040303Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040312IMG_2905IMG_2911 IMG_2913 IMG_2914 IMG_2915 IMG_2917 IMG_3002Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040390IMG_2922 IMG_2925 IMG_2943Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040354Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040364

IMG_2977 IMG_2974 IMG_2929

IMG_2928Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040424Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040435Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040444Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040463

IMG_2946 IMG_2948 IMG_2953 IMG_2954 IMG_2964Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040562Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040571Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040572Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040381Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040384Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040609Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040635Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040639Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040643IMG_2978 P1040490 IMG_2979Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040521

IMG_2932 IMG_2980 IMG_2940Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040370Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040498

Change

IMG_6840

Summer 2012

IMG_2508

Summer 2016

We hosted our first “summer family dinner” of the year this week and I couldn’t help but look around me and take note of the changes that have taken place over the last four years since we began these gatherings.  One very special person is no longer present, and four more are moving on to exciting new life adventures and will shortly leave our table as well.

When these thoughts of change began to surface, I started to feel that all-too-familiar sense of anxiety, sadness and dread seeping into my veins.  I wanted to push those feelings down deeper, think about them another day.  But then I thought to myself,  No.  I want to be fully present in this moment right now.  I want to feel the rawness of these feelings of loss and change, because it is out of these feelings that I am able to also experience real and true happiness.  For it is not until we fall down into the earth, that we are able to grapple and stand erect again, with our feet firmly rooted in the soil, stronger and more prepared for what lies ahead.

Our Undervalued Friends

IMG_2221

Oh, the dandelion.  She is so often picked, sprayed and just plain despised by so many.  What did this little lady ever do to deserve such harsh treatment?  For in fact, it is her ability to pop up everywhere and withstand the harshest of treatment that makes her so wonderful!

Our little dandelion friends act as a detoxifier for our liver; are high in calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin A and vitamin C; help tone the kidneys; and restore a general vitality to our bodies.  It is for all of these reasons, that we try our best to harvest these beauties when we can and take advantage of all their undervalued greatness.

Last week the girls and I needed to clear our strawberry and asparagus bed of weeds, and there were lots of dandelions.  So we picked and picked, trying our best to keep that lovely taproot intact.  Then we rinsed those little gals a lot.  (I think we ended up doing about 10-12 rinses to get all of the dirt off.)  We then chopped up the roots, stems, crowns and some leaves and placed them in 1/2 gallon mason jars.  Next we boiled apple cider vinegar and poured the boiling vinegar over the dandelions inside the mason jars.  We placed the capped jars in a cabinet where they will stay for 3 weeks.  After that time, we will strain the vinegar through a fine mesh strainer and refrigerate the vinegar for use over the next several months.  This vinegar is great in salad dressings, but we also take shots of it when we feel a bit under the weather, or when we feel we need a pick-me-up.

IMG_2203 IMG_2207 IMG_2217

***Important note:  Because so many people spray dandelions with poisons chemicals, it is of the greatest importance that when picking dandelions to consume, you only do so in an area where you are assured they have not been spayed!  I don’t even pick the dandelions around the perimeter of our property just in case a neighbor has sprayed their yard and some of those nasty chemicals may have leeched over the property line.

Finding My People

IMG_1898 IMG_1954 IMG_2047 IMG_1917 IMG_2037 IMG_2039 IMG_2040 IMG_1932

As I’ve grown older, I have come to learn that putting on airs and trying to be someone I am not to fit in, is just not worth my time.  While I have always thought of myself as an independent person, there was always that small part of me that really cared what others thought.  Trying to seamlessly slide in and out of varying versions of myself in order to better fit in was something I often tried, and it just became, well, exhausting.  And really, now that I am in my mid-thirties, I have neither the time nor energy to keep up that charade.  And I have got to say it has become quite liberating as I have slowly shed that desire to camouflage with everyone, and instead just be only me.

The interesting thing I have noticed about making this mental decision is that I have learned that no matter where I am, I can find my people.  Each person is unique of course, but isn’t it funny that there are people out there, in all parts of the world, who share similar thoughts, beliefs, even dreams?  And when we take a moment and stop trying to impersonate someone we are not, we can see more clearly those people around us with whom we naturally fit in.  Our people.

This past week I had the pleasure of spending time in Florida with my husband’s family and it was so fascinating to me that although we were over one thousand miles from home, I was able to find my people.  I found myself at a farmer’s market a couple of times while in Florida where I brushed arms with moms buying their week’s worth of produce and ethically raised meat from local farmers to bring home to their families.  I chatted with two women about the importance of nourishing our bodies with soul satisfying food and how that can really make all the difference in life.  I listened in on two twenty-somethings as they chatted about which hand-dyed, hand-spun yarn they were going to buy so they could fashion a cute scarf to help them brave this “cold” Floridian weather they have been having this winter.  And I spoke with a local artist about how she crafts beautiful vessels that are both functional and gorgeous.  These are my people, and although there were hundreds of people present in these situations, by dropping the veil I held in from of my face for so long, I was able to see not only these people clearly, but also be reminded of who I am and how I fit in to this great big world around me.

Nooks and Crannies

IMG_1782 IMG_1829 IMG_1828IMG_1821 IMG_1824 IMG_1823 IMG_1813 IMG_1812 IMG_1809 IMG_1808 IMG_1807

Isn’t it interesting that sometimes we spend so much time in our homes that we never actually see it?  I have been reflecting on this thought a lot lately.  Pondering what it is that I don’t actually see because I look at it each day.

With this thought in mind, I went through my house this week (with my camera) and tried to truly make a connection with what it was that my eyes (and the camera lens) saw along the way.  When I stopped to do this, I found so many things I never really noticed before:  a watercolor picture of a rooftop garden that somehow made it onto the cabinet without my noticing, legos strewn about next to our worm farm, and a canvas print of one of my favorite quotes that I don’t remember ever hanging up.  So many interesting objects that illustrate our family life at this moment in time.

Wishing each of you a weekend in which you can find a quick moment to really see those items in the nooks and crannies of your home that come to define you and your family at this moment in time.

Our Solstice Celebration

IMG_1679IMG_1713IMG_1683IMG_1760IMG_1695IMG_1684IMG_1698IMG_1708IMG_1689

My mom always use to say that December 21st was her favorite day of the year because after it, each day gets a bit longer.  For years now, I have wanted to have a winter solstice celebration, but crazy schedules around the holidays always  seemed to get in the way.  However, this year it seemed as if  a solstice celebration was something of a necessity for me.  I yearned for it as a reminder to myself that no matter how dark and lonely this holiday season may seem because of my mom’s passing, each day will be filled with a bit more light.  And I pray that some day that light will help fill this cavernous void of today with new life and hope.

Wishing each of you much love and light this season.

A New Look

cropped-020-2.jpg

With all of the change in my family lately, I have tried to take a step back and really look at my life a bit more carefully.  Time goes by in a simple blink doesn’t it?  And when I really stopped to think about it, I have been writing this blog for almost four years now.  And when I looked at the format of this space, and the picture that was its backdrop, I realized the little girl peering into the water has grown up.  And my other daughter, who was too tiny to even be found on the dock in the picture, is now just as tall as my oldest, and she cannot be found anywhere else but beside her sister.

So, in keeping with my mantra to try new things, I hope you like the new format of Making of a Home.  And I thank each of you for visiting this space, which I have come to hold so dear to my heart.

What I’m In To

It is been a very, very long time since I have written a What I’m In To post, so I thought today would be as good a time as any to just dive right in.  So, on this Tuesday following Labor Day, I’m in to

IMG_1071

…tomatoes.  I am literally surrounded by these ruby orbs of goodness.  They are currently covering every horizontal surface of my kitchen, and this is after I spent all of Sunday (and Sunday evening) roasting and canning over 10 quarts worth.  I always get a bit overwhelmed by our tomatoes at this time of year, but I just keep trying to keep perspective.  And I know I do love the taste of summer during those snowy February days.  So for now, I am trying my best to keep my head above the proverbial tomato-filled water.

…ordering a great deal of this coconut oil.  About 5 months back I experimented with creating a vegan cold-pressed soap recipe, and it actually turned out amazing.  In about a week we plan to whip up some more of this soap in preparation for the Christmas gift-giving season.  I cannot wait to share this recipe with you!

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  Do you know how there are those rare books that hold you in their grasp from the moment your eyes hit the first page?  This is that kind of book.  Unbelievable.

…lemon verbena and lemon balm.  These two herbs are new to our garden this year and they have completely taken off.  They are fragrant and delicious, but also very beneficial for our health.  After listening to Rosemary Gladstar speak two years ago at The Mother Earth News Fair, I wanted to grow these two herbs.  So this past winter I bought her book Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health, found so many wonderful recipes for these two herbs within its contents, and now have the scent of lemon wafting in our nostrils every time we set foot in our herb garden.

…my husband’s new Vitamix.  Actually, this statement is false.  I am not only into my husband’s new Vitamix, but I am in love with it.  In.  Love.  My girls and I have created a new smoothie that we make every morning, using this new kitchen gadget.  We call it the “Hulk Smoothie” because it is bright (I mean bright) green.  For this smoothie we use a splash of pineapple juice, 2 oranges, a large handful of kale, one avocado, a few spoonfuls of hempseed hearts, a large handful of cilantro, lime juice, stevia and ice.  Amazing.  (Oh, and I also love, love, love my stainless steel straws that go perfectly with our Hulk Smoothie, or all smoothies for that matter.)

…being back in this blogging space each week.  Thank you so much to each of you for reading today, and everyday.